Cabarrus Selects Director to Lead Efforts to Strengthen Local Economy

Shannon Johnson joins Cabarrus County government as Sustainable Local Economy Project Director. In this role, she will direct the county’s efforts to support small, local businesses and provide staff support to the Council for a Sustainable Local Economy (CSLE).

The Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners plans to appoint members to the CSLE at its March 21 meeting. The charge for this Council is to raise awareness of the “local living economy” business approach; perform research, analysis, and education; and recommend policy that encourages entrepreneurship and supports local, independently owned businesses.

Johnson, who has 15 years’ experience in small business development with start-up firms and business incubators as well as 5 years’ experience in non-profit strategy and fundraising, will implement a sustainable economic development strategy to support entrepreneurs in creation or expansion of local businesses; encourage the production, processing and consumption of locally raised food; and promote the creation of green jobs and green buildings.

A current member of the inaugural Cabarrus County Food Policy Council, Johnson moved to Cabarrus County in 2008 from Annapolis, Maryland after relocation research focused on regions in North Carolina. “I love this community,” she says.

“I am excited to begin reaching out to local businesses, as well as the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation and other community-focused organizations, and working together to strengthen our local economy,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who holds a Bachelor of Science in sociology from University of Maryland University College, began her career with the U.S. Navy. Before moving to North Carolina as a small business consultant, she handled foundation and corporate relations for the US Naval Institute. In previous positions, she served as director of the Washington Homeland Security Roundtable, as chief operating officer of Moozatech, Inc., and as a regional director for Explore, Inc.